Martin offers no defence in trial

The trial against former MLA Lyndon Martin could soon draw to a close after he refused to offer any evidence.

Martin is being tried for falsely accusing someone else of a crime and doing an act tending to pervert the course of public justice by falsely alleging that Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis wilfully misconducted himself in a public office by supplying Cayman Net News publisher Desmond Seales with confidential and/or sensitive police material.

Because Martin’s defence team did not call any witnesses, lawyers were to give closing arguments in the case Wednesday.

‘I wish I had never made any report on Ennis, Rudolph Dixon, Commissioner of Police and anyone else,’ Martin is reported as saying in an interview with Operation Tempura Special Constable Richard Coy.

‘The whole issue just incrementally escalated,’ Mr. Coy quoted Martin as saying later.

Mr. Coy was the last witness to give evidence in person in Martin’s trial. Andrew Radcliffe QC concluded the presentation of the Crown’s evidence against Martin at 1.04pm on Tuesday. At 1.05pm, Trevor Burke QC advised the court, ‘The Defence offers no evidence.’

Martin’s allegations against Mr. Ennis were put in writing in August 2007, in the form of letters to the governor, but handed to then-Commissioner Stuart Kernohan. One of the allegations was that Mr. Ennis was leaking information to Net News in the form of e-mails.

The supposed leaks dealt with such topics as the police helicopter, a drug operation in West Bay, a meeting between the auditor general and Mr. Kernohan with regard to Boatswain’s Beach.

Asked in the interview if ‘even today you are saying that the allegations are true?’, Martin replied, ‘At the time of making that I genuinely believed that those were true and still today believe them to have been true. Otherwise I wouldn’t have made a representation.’

Martin said, ‘I became alarmed at the fact I was seeing information coming to my desk that not only targeted Dixon and the Commissioner, but in my opinion, also challenged the whole integrity and somewhat safety of policing in the Cayman Islands.’

The interviewing officers told him that minutes from a senior officers’ meeting had been accidentally distributed to the press. The jury had already heard that these Gold Command minutes were recalled and reporters were asked to disregard the e-mail.

Officers showed Martin a document mistakenly sent in July 2007 and allowed him to read it. Martin said he had not received the first page with the crest, but the other pages were forwarded to him in a folder from Mr. Seales. ‘And the allegations that I covered in those two letters…, I can admit to you a lot of those allegations came from the content of this document.’

Martin said he had a conversation with Net News reporter John Evans about the e-mail sent in error. If he had seen the front cover he might have made the connection.

Challenged by interviewers that he would have known in July 2007 that the document did not come from Mr Ennis, Martin replied, ‘I drew my conclusion based on what I knew the editor’s contact with the police.’

Martin said he was pressured to provide hard copies as evidence. ‘I am anxious to have this behind me. My mistake and I am willing to admit it that I did exaggerate the number of hard sources, but I did not in any way exaggerate my belief that it was Ennis motivating it, because a lot of that is just, it is hard to explain it without knowing Desmond Seales right.’

The jury has heard that Martin was interviewed in September 2007 by Operation Tempura officers Martin Bridger and Simon Ashwin.

In his March 2008 interviews after his arrest, Martin said he discovered around Christmas 2007 that when he wrote the two letters to the Governor in August, the information he was drawing on from memory originally came from one source. He had not understood previously that the Gold Command minutes e-mailed in error was the same document he received from Mr. Seales.

Martin was asked if there really was a file containing e-mails from Mr. Ennis. His transcribed answer was, ‘There was a three inch binder of e-mails I cannot say that they truthfully contained emails from Ennis.’

Martin was reminded that in his September 2007 interviews he was absolutely clear that he had seen Ennis’ email. Martin replied that he did not recall saying that – if he did say it, it was not accurate.

The arresting officer said he didn’t want to use the word ‘lie’. Instead, he said to Martin, ‘You fibbed to them.’ Martin’s recorded answer was, ‘Yes, I did.’

Later he did recall telling the officers in September that there were e-mails from Ennis.

The interviewer said, ‘That was an outright lie.’

Martin replied, ‘That was a lie – I had no proof of that – I had a belief but no proof of that.’